22 October 2017

Google Chrome tab switching etc. very slow - unusual fix

(I posted this to the Google Product Forums but never got any help)
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/rY7tI_eAshA;context-place=mydiscussions

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I have Version 61.0.3163.100 (Official Build) (64-bit) of Chrome installed on Windows 10.

I have four active profiles running (i.e. separate signed-in Google accounts - call them "main", "work", "personal", "darkwebz").

One profile - my oldest and primary account - is the one with the following issue:

Creating a new tab, switching tabs, or creating a new window, takes about 2 to 3 seconds. I have disabled all of my extensions and rebooted - even signed out the profile and rebooted - every time I sign in it brings back the delay.

Interestingly, while this delay occurs with the primary profile, the rest churn along quite happily - open / close / switch tabs is near instantaneous. This is all happening on the same machine with everything running; so it's not a specific CPU problem or resource issue - at least, I can't see how. As a test, I opened 40 tabs on the primary, and 80 on another profile, and the primary is slow, the alternative is lightning fast. That being said, page navigating within a tab is not affected - only new tabs, tab switching, and general navigating around tabs.

After exhaustively trying to disable every extension, refresh, reboot, sign out, sign in, etc. I happened upon one little tidbit that seemed to affect everything - the moment the Chrome theme loaded up, it all went to pot.

I then disabled the Theme and presto! Everything is normal and fast!

So, when in doubt, try reviewing the Google Chrome theme ...

08 May 2017

Etherpad - awesome free collaborative online tool

There are a few handy tools out there that I consider to be game-changers.

Etherpad is one of them.

According to http://etherpad.org/ it's an open source project that is designed to allow you to edit documents collaboratively in real-time. You can also add in tons of plugins that allow your instance to suit your needs.

You also can run it online from one of the public repositories.

This little tool has a lot going for it and it's just simply fantastic. It is so simple to set up, so simple to use, and has great functions. It's ideal for a group collaboration and doesn't require the added fluff of Google Accounts etc. (although Google accounts do have their own merit, this is a sure-fire way to get a simple solution up and running quickly and is more like a use-once-and-then-burn option).

https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/

or check out my live demo here, and say hi :)

https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/brattexblogspotexamplepost

or, check out a very good and populated demo here with some extra features:

https://board.net/p/testboard2

02 November 2016

Applying for a US visa on SA passport

Recently I had my UK passport stolen and had to fly out to the USA 2 weeks later. I was in Botswana at the time of the theft so I really had pressure.

I was able to apply online for an appointment at the US Consulate General in Cape Town and initially it said the earliest appointment was 4 November. I needed to get it done way sooner than that. I phoned the US Consulate General later that day and was advised that the booking slots had changed and I could get to them on 31 October. First lesson to learn:

17 May 2016

Beat the price increase with Xbox Live Gold : South Africa

So Microsoft is doing a douche financial move - they're more than doubling the SA Xbox Live subscription fee. There's only one thing for it - stock up now before the price increase hits!

Here's my simple (possibly painfully complicated :)) process:
(pardon the hastily drawn up blog post with terrible screenshots and indentations)

  1. Go to your Microsoft account page
  2. Select Service & Subscriptions
    and select show more
  3. Get more Gold
  4. (as an aside, I currently have 30.5GB free space on OneDrive but MS is reducing that to 5GB ... good luck to all the businesses running Office 365... MS isn't showing much favorable behaviour at the moment. They've even acquired Sunrise calendar and now they're discontinuing it :( ).




Choose your subscription, then follow the confirmation prompts, and voila! You'll get no confirmation of the purchase and will be dumped at an Xbox settings home page, none the wiser ...



To verify your subscription status, go back to the Services & Subscriptions page and confirm the new expiry and renewal dates. The best thing about doing the R50 monthly thing is you won't be screwed royally if you accidentally forget to cancel the auto-renew. You'll get enough warning to cancel it yourself before you are hit with a massive 12-month subscription price increase... you'll suffer one month of losses but that's better than the equivalent 12-month subscription auto-renewal coming off your account. 



10 May 2016

Android Angles: Contacts+, one of the most versatile contact apps for Android

I'm a complete perfectionist and it is the worst experience ever to have an Android device. There are far too many choices and I just can't decide which is the right one.

In order to save you from the same nightmare of choice, I present to you an app that I think will cover almost all the bases for those needing a better Contact management experience on their device.

I present... Contacts+ as enjoyed (or at least, installed) by more than 10 million users.

Why do I like this app? Well, it's not perfect, for starters, but it seems to cover my wishlist for a contacts management app:

  • Simple, intuitive, fairly minimalist interface
  • One-stop app to cover all my basic communication needs
  • Duplicate Contact management
  • SMS conversation management (including deleting multiple SMSes easily)
  • Fast dial functionality
  • Unknown number identification
  • Cloud backup
Looking through my list you'd think I was asking for the impossible. But thankfully, I found my home with Contacts+.

I must say from the outset that it's not at all 100% perfect in all departments - in fact, on a loan Samsung Galaxy S4 I found that received SMSes were blank "MMS" ... could have been the sender though, because other users were fine. At any rate, my experience has been around 95% satisfactory which is a large step up from using seven different mediocre individually focused apps.

Let's get started then, shall we?

25 February 2016

Mac OS X local HDD read-only

Recently had to run a recovery for someone on Mac OS X - the local disk was mounted read only.

To fix this:
https://discussions.apple.com/message/21666054#21666054

mount -uw /

Voila!

04 February 2016

iSCSI connection failure in RHEL / Linux

Condition

We're running a Dell PowerVault MD3600i iSCSI connection to a RHEL server. From time to time (rarely but more frequently than I like it) it seems to lose the mount and needs intervention.

Herewith the script that I've written to repair the lost mount connection - hope it's useful for someone. 

Script solution

Run a cronjob to check the mount exists and if not, perform a mount repair...
(note the *** portions of the below script are going to be different for your personal setup)

if grep -qs /data /proc/mounts; then
date >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "/data is mounted" >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "---" >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
else
date >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "!!! /data is NOT mounted !!!" >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "^^^" >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "attempting repair" >> /usr/local/sbin/logs/checkdatamount.log
echo "..." >> /belfry/logs/checkdatamount.log
iscsiadm --m node -T iqn.1984-05.com.dell:powervault.md3600i.6f0******2d788ac --portal 10.***.***.1**:3260 -u
iscsiadm -m discovery -t st -p 10.***.***.1**
iscsiadm -m node --targetname "iqn.1984-05.com.dell:powervault.md3600i.6f0******2d788ac" --portal "10.***.***.1**:3260" --login
iscsiadm -m session
vgchange -an MD3600i***01
vgchange -ay MD3600i***01
mount /dev/mapper/MD3600i***01-MD3600i***Vol01 /data
echo "... repaired (possibly)" >> /belfry/logs/checkdatamount.log
fi

07 October 2015

PXE booting from Primary PXE server to Secondary PXE server

PXE Chaining.
PXE chainloading.
PXE cross booting.

I don't really know the correct term but I know what I wanted to do. Surprisingly, through my efforts, I found it very difficult to get a straightforward answer from the interwebs, but after doing this-and-that etc. I've drawn up my own notes; perhaps they may be helpful to someone else.

Setting

We run an old Windows 2003 (ahem, not my choice) server with DHCPdNT service which seems to emulate the Linux DHCP configuration (we have a DHCPd.conf file, /tftpboot/ folder, etc.).

I shall refer to this as a hybrid setup.

We run standard PXE boot menus referenced inside our DHCPd.conf file for various subnets; inside each boot menu are more options, with one being "boot diskless Linux". When this is selected, the pxelinux.0 image file is invoked, and off we go inside /tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/ and look for a matching config file (you know the drill, start with the MAC address, work your way down until eventually you get to default if nothing else is available).

Challenge

I now wanted to add Clonezilla SE to the PXE menu option but Clonezilla SE insists on using DRBL for its functionality. This is how it works, in a nutshell (or outside of a nutshell too):
  1. Boot up Live DRBL CD (or from local install)
  2. Initiate DRBL / Clonezilla Server
  3. It will likely create an IP alias for the local NIC if you only have one NIC
  4. Initiates DHPC / PXE
  5. Waits for clients
I wanted to have my primary PXE server have a menu item that links to the secondary PXE server; if I ran the secondary PXE server on the same network as the primary DHCP we could have conflicting DHCP issues, and some of the clients would pick up the secondary PXE menu when they didn't ask for it. I avoided this by running the secondary server on a totally separate subnet (with its own potential problems but we will ignore them for now :)).

How do I get a solution along these lines:

PXE Menu 1
option 1: boot local
option 2: memtest
option 3: diskless linux
option 4: load PXE menu 2

Solution

  1. Download pxechain.com from  syslinux project archive
    1. copied pxechain.com to c:/tftpboot/ on Primary PXE / DHCP server.
    2. within C:\TFTPBOOT\pxelinux.cfg\
      1. edit default (for all PCs, or if you want to be safe and troubleshoot / test with a single PC, create new blank file 01-00-0c-29-ca-1a-81 [YMMV])
      2. Add the following text to configure the menu item:
default Clonezilla-live
menu title Modified Menu
timeout 300

label Clonezilla-live
 MENU LABEL Clonezilla Live (Ramdisk)
 KERNEL pxechain.com
 APPEND [[IP Address of 2ndary server]]::pxelinux.0
  1. This will run pxechain.com which prompts for a server and filename, which are fed above (using the Clonezilla DRBL default options for testing purposes)
    1. Only the defined MAC address machine will load this PXE configuration

That's about it :)

07 September 2015

Claim your Mini Day Z game for free

Zombies have been with us for many years but it's only really become a thing with the advent of AMC's awesome Walking Dead series.

One of the things that's been around is Day Z and the web-friendly version, Mini Day Z.

You can claim the free online (multiplayer) version here:

https://store.bistudio.com/products/minidayz

It's free, so why wait?




04 August 2015

22Seven - Protect your money by setting up a view-only account (FNB)

Old Mutual's online financial support service, 22seven, seems to be the big deal when it comes to managing your finances. The service is explained here:

https://www.22seven.com/manage-your-money

but the most important part is that it extracts information from your account/s by logging in.

To avoid the however-unlikely risk of the service being compromised and someone nefarious having access to your money, you are best advised to set up a view-only account.

With FNB it's a few steps, as outlined below (YMMV with other banks) in a picture story.

Login and select Online Banking Settings

View Secondary Users
Add User, giving an appropriate Name



Fill out the information

17 July 2015

R.I.P. Grooveshark. Long live Streamsquid!

All of a sudden on the last day of April, 2015, Grooveshark shut down. Apparently it had to do with a very expensive fine.


Although I don't approve of piracy, I thought Grooveshark had survived this long because it was legit. and it hurt me a lot to see my favourite music streaming service go offline, especially without prior warning. What about all of my playlists! The love and effort I'd put into them for years!

Oh well, there was nothing to be done, so I just accepted I'd have to listen to my local MP3 collection for a change instead...

That is, until Streamsquid came along!


04 June 2015

Easy trick to synchronise Google Chrome browser tabs across devices

If you have a tendency to use Google Chrome on multiple devices, there's a nice and easy "hack" to get your tabs to travel with you from one device to another.

All you need to do is bookmark all the tabs (using either keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+D or as the screenshot below shows, right-click on a tab, and then select Bookmark all tabs). I usually save mine into a Bookmark folder called Saved Tabs which I can then access from any other device that has Google Chrome sync'ed with my Google Account. This will only bookmark the current window so you'd need to do this for each window you want to save.

It's a bit nasty but it is a low resource intensive and simple method to take your tabs with you.

Step 1: Bookmark all tabs
Step 2: from another computer open your Saved Tabs* folder
(*or whatever you called it)

26 May 2015

Android Angles: not getting that Sync'ing feeling

I'm starting to like my Android phone. Quite a lot*. What I enjoy most is how it syncrhonises my Google stuff without me worrying.

Well, that's what it's supposed to do.

Recently, I noticed that Google Keep wasn't reflecting online what was on my phone, and when I did some digging, I uncovered the cause. This may apply to you for other reasons but if you are experiencing these symptoms:

Google Account (or most other accounts) is not synchronising web with device (e.g. Google Keep, Drive, Mail, etc.)

To fix this, you need to check that your Google Account (or most other accounts) is set to sync.

The path to follow is Settings ==> scroll down to Accounts and tap the account type you want to edit...

Select the Account to configure


23 April 2015

Superbru 2015: week 10

Worst year ever. My success follows closely with the Sharks.

 

I am almost last in the pool that in 2014 I led from start to finish. My, how the mighty have collapsed.

21 April 2015

Android Angles: Pushbullet application for streamlined productivity

Screen shot stolen from Pushbullet ;-)
There's a new favourite app in the town of Brattville! Or maybe there's a new flavour of the month in the Parlour of Brattex! Or maybe it's just a fleeting thrill - we shall see. But what is the name of this app, one asks? Pushbullet be its name. And what does this app do, another queries? It be a desktop / mobile integrator for productivity. So why all the conjunctions at the beginning of these sentences? Because it is convenient, dammit!

Enough with the silly rhetoric, on with the product highlight!



How to Use Pushbullet to Bridge the Gap Between All Your Devices
Stolen from lifehacker.com

Pushbullet acts as a bridge between your mobile and desktop OSes and so far, I have been very impressed by its performance. Admittedly, it is a little unnerving about what information Pushbullet is accumulating but if you think you can trust developers from San Francisco, and more than one million users can't be wrong, then you're in good company I suspect.